U of A Student Involvement Helped Dodd Learn and Grow


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Michael Dodd and his fiancee, Natalie Van Pelt, met while students at the University of Arkansas.

When it came down to deciding between the University of Arkansas and University of Texas, Michael Dodd BSBA’12 chose Arkansas for its outstanding business school and the culture of the community. “The people here are so down to earth, U of A felt like home compared to other schools, everyone is so tight knit,” he said.

Coming to Fayetteville from Kansas, Dodd said he only knew about five people, but that quickly changed after joining a fraternity and becoming involved in Associated Student Government. He later became the student government president. “Every experience I had basically stemmed from joining a fraternity. My position as president helped shaped me into who I am today a lot. Both experiences helped me learn and grow,” said Dodd, a life member in the Arkansas Alumni Association. His strong desire to lead and give back to the community were exemplified through his presence on campus in ASG Senate, Phi Gamma Delta, Interfraternity Council Executive Board, vice chair of Campus Council, Transportation Logistics Association, All University Conduct Board, Greek Life Facilitators and Global Greeks.

While on ASG, Dodd met his fiancée, Natalie Van Pelt. The couple met his sophomore year and will be married in spring 2016. “My favorite memory at the University is meeting my now fiancée and being able to experience things together.”

During Dodd’s sophomore year, he also made the first steps toward a career with Wal-Mart. “My dad was a successful businessman in Kansas City, and growing up around him I really felt that my skills and talents would translate well to that major,” he said. Dodd interned with J.B. Hunt his sophomore year and with Wal-Mart as a junior and senior. He enjoyed his internships and knew that he wanted to continue to work for the largest retailer following his graduation. Dodd has worked three years full time for Wal-Mart since graduating.

Dodd is passionate about his employment with Wal-Mart because the company’s culture is parallel to the University’s. “The people really make the difference. The culture is so special. Wal-Mart’s influence is phenomenal,” he said. Dodd works as an associate buyer and is responsible for buying children’s apparel. “My job gives me a lot of purpose. I have influence over what kids all over America are wearing. Wal-Mart gives me the opportunity to provide quality and affordable apparel to families,” Dodd said. Dodd said he wants to continue to make a difference. His goals are to constantly grow and learn within his work and leadership. Wal-Mart has provided Dodd an avenue to pursue his goals and he said he sees himself with Wal-Mart for a long time, hopefully becoming a leader in the future.

In addition to working, Dodd keeps close ties with the University and gives back by serving as the young alumni chair for the NWA Chapter of the Arkansas Alumni Association. He still enjoys his favorite pastime — cheering for the Razorback sports teams. Dodd is an avid fan and has season tickets to the football games.

In 2013, Dodd was chosen as one of the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal’s Fast 15, which recognizes 20-somethings on the fast track to success. The Arkansas Alumni Association has partnered with the Business Journal to host the 2015 Fast 15 reception in May. Nominations for Fast 15 will be accepted through March 27.

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